Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Theory, Research, and Treatment

By Ross G. Menzies; Padmal De Silva | Go to book overview

ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES
Tamsen St. Clare
INTRODUCTION
The importance of using psychometrically sound measures of obsessivecompulsive symptoms in both research and clinical settings is widely recognised. Likewise, it is generally accepted that the assessment measures should evolve in accordance with current theoretical and clinical developments, so that we are able to evaluate contemporary theories and treatments effectively (e.g. Obsessive-Compulsive Cognitions Working Group, 1997; Taylor, 1998). Although there are some reliable and valid instruments available for assessing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the popular treatment outcome measures have been restricted predominantly to the domains of diagnosis and symptom description.Current theories of OCD emphasise the importance of cognitive variables in the aetiology and maintenance of the disorder (Foa & Kozak, 1986; Jones & Menzies, 1997a, 1997b; Salkovskis, 1989c; Tallis, 1995a, 1995b; see further, Chapter 4). There appear to be three levels of cognition essential to the disorder: (a) intrusions—the unwanted thoughts, impulses and images that sufferers experience; (b) appraisals of specific events, particularly appraisals of the significance or meaning of intrusions; and (c) dysfunctional assumptions or beliefs that are enduring and relate to many situations (Obsessive Compulsive Cognitions Working Group, 1997). It is therefore important that assessment of OCD incorporate not just measurement of diagnostic symptoms, but also measurement of these cognitive constructs. In brief, a thorough assessment of OCD should include the following:
Diagnosis. Reliable and valid diagnostic instruments are essential to ensure accurate classification of subjects in research and clinical settings. The availability of psychometrically sound diagnostic measures contributes to the standardisation of diagnostic procedures across studies.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Theory, Research and Treatment.

Edited by Ross G. Menzies and Padmal de Silva. © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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